Sunday, 25 October 2020
Gillie Sutherland Gillie Sutherland

I’ve decided that I rather love Dubrovnik in the Autumn

By  Gillie Sutherland Oct 18, 2020

At this time of year, I’m usually still grieving the end of Summer, and dreading the arrival of Winter, begrudgingly pulling out my warm clothes and preparing for hibernation.

Today, however, after a scenic bus ride into the Old Town, I’m wandering down the Stradun with a paper cone of roasted chestnuts, with a huge grin on my face. I’m wearing shorts, much to the amusement of the locals, who are already in their thermals, but I don’t care. The sun is shining, it’s still in the 20s and life is good.

What’s also unusual is that I am looking forward to a conference. They usually fill me with dread – stuffy rooms in soulless hotels, only coffee and pastries on offer, too much sitting down and not enough fresh air. But this isn’t an ordinary conference, and this certainly isn’t an ordinary venue.

I’m heading to the Lazereti, the first ever building in the world officially constructed to hold people in quarantine, which seems both fitting and ironic for this moment in time. These adjoining buildings are steeped in history, and offer the most incredible views of the Adriatic, so there is a real sense of occasion about it.

What’s more is that it is a Conference for Digital Nomads with the Dutch entrepreneur Jan De Jong, and a Guest Speaker from California, Dr Wallace J Nicholls, a marine biologist who specialises in the study of the “blue mind” and how being in, on and around the sea positively impacts our physical, mental and emotional health, as well as our productivity at work. I was sold at “blue mind”.

Croatia will be only the 2nd country in Europe to offer a Digital Nomad visa, and the 5th country worldwide. The Prime Minister has said he believes this is the future, with people working remotely, not tied to offices, and there’s no doubt it will bring it a most-welcome additional revenue stream for the country, as well as some fresh entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s a fantastic initiative showing a positive approach to the City’s recovery; as one of the speakers said -

“Every crisis is a new opportunity”.

As I hear these words, I can’t help but think of Boris Johnson using “being an opportunist” as a criticism of Keir Starmer. Being here today feels like another world to the one the UK Prime Minister inhabits, and not for the first time, I’m relieved to be in this one!

Looking at opportunity rather than admitting defeat is surely admirable, but when you look at Croatia’s history, it’s not surprising. If a country had a “word”, Croatia’s would be “resilience”. People here are hard-wired for not giving up, for overcoming adversity, and for exceeding expectations. We just need to look at the National Football Team for evidence of that!

The vibe at the conference is surprisingly upbeat, considering the fact we are all masked-up and socially distanced. With a new high-speed internet on the way and an influx of talented and forward-thinking entrepreneurs, I see a different type of “brave new world” developing here.

While the world around us may be in chaos, it feels like Croatia 2.0 is like a sea-blue bubble of hope and excitement.

Soaking up the October sunshine, with the sight and the smell of the sea air, surrounded by all this positive energy, I feel so grateful to be here in this magical City. If I have to quarantine, I can’t think of a better place. 

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Gillie Sutherland grew up in the north of England, before settling in Devon, but has now swapped her UK address for one on the Adriatic in the very south of Croatia, in Molunat. A professional yoga trainer she now runs retreats and online courses from her Konavle base. She also writes a weekly column for the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo.

Keep in touch with Gillie via her yoga website - www.yogamolunat.life

For more information on healing holidays in Croatia visit www.lovemolunat.com

 

 

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